In 2014/2015, it took NVIDIA 6 months from the launch of the Maxwell 2 architecture to get GTX Titan X out the door. All things considered, that was a fast turnaround for a new architecture. However now that we’re the Pascal generation, it turns out NVIDIA is in the mood to set a speed record, and in more ways than one.

Announced this evening by Jen-Hsun Huang at an engagement at Stanford University is the NVIDIA Titan X, NVIDIA’s new flagship video card. Based on the company’s new GP102 GPU, it’s launching in less than two weeks, on August 2nd.

NVIDIA GPU Specification Comparison
  NVIDIA Titan X GTX 1080 GTX Titan X GTX Titan
CUDA Cores 3584 2560 3072 2688
Texture Units 224? 160 192 224
ROPs 96? 64 96 48
Core Clock 1417MHz 1607MHz 1000MHz 837MHz
Boost Clock 1531MHz 1733MHz 1075MHz 876MHz
Memory Clock 10Gbps GDDR5X 10Gbps GDDR5X 7Gbps GDDR5 6Gbps GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 384-bit 256-bit 384-bit 384-bit
FP64 1/32 1/32 1/32 1/3
FP16 (Native) 1/64 1/64 N/A N/A
INT8 4:1 ? ? ?
TDP 250W 180W 250W 250W
GPU GP102 GP104 GM200 GK110
Transistor Count 12B 7.2B 8B 7.1B
Die Size 471mm2 314mm2 601mm2 551mm2
Manufacturing Process TSMC 16nm TSMC 16nm TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm
Launch Date 08/02/2016 05/27/2016 03/17/2015 02/21/2013
Launch Price $1200 MSRP: $599
Founders $699
$999 $999

Let’s dive right into the numbers, shall we? The NVIDIA Titan X will be shipping with 3584 CUDA cores. Assuming that NVIDIA retains their GP104-style consumer architecture here – and there’s every reason to expect they will – then we’re looking at 28 SMs, or 40% more than GP104 and the GTX 1080.

It’s interesting to note here that 3584 CUDA cores happens to be the exact same number of CUDA cores also found in the Tesla P100 accelerator. These products are based on very different GPUs, but I bring this up because Tesla P100 did not use a fully enabled GP100 GPU; its GPU features 3840 CUDA cores in total. NVIDIA is not confirming the total number of CUDA cores in GP102 at this time, but if it’s meant to be a lightweight version of GP100, then this may not be a fully enabled card. This would also maintain the 3:2:1 ratio between GP102/104/106, as we saw with GM200/204/206.

On the clockspeed front, Titan X will be clocked at 1417MHz base and 1531MHz boost. This puts the total FP32 throughput at 11 TFLOPs (well, 10.97…), 24% higher than GTX 1080. In terms of expected performance, NVIDIA isn’t offering any comparisons to GTX 1080 at this time, but relative to the Maxwell 2 based GTX Titan X, they are talking about an up to 60% performance boost.

Feeding the beast that is GP102 is a 384-bit GDDR5X memory bus. NVIDIA will be running Titan X’s GDDR5X at the same 10Gbps as on GTX 1080, so we’re looking at a straight-up 50% increase in memory bus size and resulting memory bandwidth, bringing Titan X to 480GB/sec.

At this point in time there are a few unknowns about other specifications of the card. ROP count and texture unit count have not been disclosed (and this is something NVIDIA rarely posts on their site anyhow), but based on GP104 and GP106, I believe it’s safe to assume that we’re looking at 224 texture units and 96 ROPs respectively. To put this into numbers then, theoretical performance versus a GTX 1080 would be 24% more shading/texturing/geometry/compute performance, 50% more memory bandwidth, and 33% more ROP throughput. Or relative GTX Titan X (Maxwell 2), 56% more shading/texturing/geometry/compute performance, 43% more memory bandwidth, and 42% more ROP throughput. Of course, none of this takes into account any of Pascal’s architectural advantages such as a new delta color compression system.

Meanwhile like the past Titans, the new Titan X is a 250W card, putting it 70W (39%) above GTX 1080. In pictures released by NVIDIA and confirmed by their spec sheet, this will be powered by the typical 8-pin + 6-pin power connector setup. And speaking of pictures, the handful of pictures released so far confirm that the card will be following NVIDIA’s previous reference design, in the new GTX 1000 series triangular style. This means we’re looking at a blower based card – now clad in black for Titan X – using a vapor chamber setup like the GTX 1080 and past Titan cards.

The TDP difference between Titan X and GTX 1080 may also explain some of rationale behind the performance estimates above. In the Maxwel 2 generation, GTX Titan X (250W) consumed 85W more than GTX 980 (165W); but for the Pascal generation, NVIDIA only gets another 70W. As power is the ultimate factor limiting performance, it stands to reason that NVIDIA can't increase performance over GTX 1080 (in the form of CUDA cores and clockspeeds) by as much as they could over GTX 980. There is always the option to go above 250W - Tesla P100 in mezzanine form goes to 300 W - but for a PCIe form factor, 250W seems to be the sweet spot for NVIDIA.

Moving on, display I/O is listed as DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0b, and DL-DVI; NVIDIA doesn’t list the number of ports (and they aren’t visible in product photos), but I’d expect that it’s 3x DP, 1x HDMI, and 1x DL-DVI, just as with the past Titan X and GTX 1080.

From a marketing standpoint, it goes without saying that NVIDIA is pitching the Titan X as their new flagship card. What is interesting however is that it’s not being classified as a GeForce card, rather it’s the amorphous “NVIDIA Titan X”, being neither Quadro, Tesla, nor GeForce. Since the first card’s introduction in 2013, the GTX Titan series has always walked a fine line as a prosumer card, balanced between a relatively cheap compute card for workstations, and an uber gaming card for gaming PCs.

That NVIDIA has removed this card from the GeForce family would seem to further cement its place as a prosumer card. On the compute front the company is separately advertising the card's 44 TOPs INT8 compute performance - INT8 being frequently used for neural network inference - which is something they haven't done before for GeForce or Titan cards. Though make no mistake: the company’s GeForce division is marketing the card and it’s listed on, so it is still very much a gaming card as well.

As for pricing and availability, NVIDIA’s flagships have always been expensive, and NVIDIA Titan X even more so. The card will retail for $1200, $200 more than the previous GTX Titan X (Maxwell 2), and $500 more than the NVIDIA-built GTX 1080 Founders Edition. Given the overall higher prices for the GTX 1000 series, this isn’t something that surprises me, but none the less it means buying NVIDIA’s best card just got a bit more expensive. Meanwhile for distribution, making a departure from previous generations, the card is only being sold directly by NVIDIA through their website. The company’s board partners will not be distributing it, though system builders will still be able to include it.

Overall the announcement of this new Titan card, its specifications, and its timing raises a lot of questions. Does GP102 have fast FP64/FP16 hardware, or is it purely a larger GP104, finally formalizing the long-anticipated divide between HPC and consumer GPUs? Just how much smaller is GP102 versus GP100? How has NVIDIA been able to contract their launch window by so much for the Pascal generation, launching 3 GPUs in the span of 3 months? These are all good questions I hope we’ll get an answer to, and with an August 2nd launch it looks like we won’t be waiting too long.

Update 07/25: NVIDIA has given us a few answers to the question above. We have confirmation that the FP64 and FP16 rates are identical to GP104, which is to say very slow, and primarily there for compatibility/debug purposes. With the exception of INT8 support, this is a bigger GP104 throughout.

Meanwhile we have a die size for GP102: 471mm2, which is 139mm2 smaller than GP100. Given that both (presumably) have the same number of FP32 cores, the die space savings and implications are significant. This is as best of an example as we're ever going to get on the die space cost of the HPC features limited to GP100: NVLInk, fast FP64/FP16 support, larger register files, etc. By splitting HPC and graphics/inference into two GPUs, NVIDIA can produce GP102 at what should be a significantly lower price (and higher yield), something they couldn't do until the market for compute products based on GP100 was self-sustaining.

Finally, NVIDIA has clarified the branding a bit. Despite labeling it "the world’s ultimate graphics card," NVIDIA this morning has stated that the primary market is FP32 and INT8 compute, not gaming. Though gaming is certainly possible - and I fully expect they'll be happy to sell you $1200 gaming cards - the tables have essentially been flipped from the past Titan cards, where they were treated as gaming first and compute second. This of course opens the door to a proper GeForce branded GP102 card later on, possibly with neutered INT8 support to enforce the market segmentation.

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  • nevcairiel - Monday, July 25, 2016 - link

    You are only ripping yourself off when you buy something you don't really want - and then whine about it.

    The Titan has always been very much a niche card, and even more so this time around as they are strongly re-targeting it towards compute tasks instead of gaming. It was never a good economy decision to buy it.

    So in short, you think the Titan is too expensive? Just don't buy it.
  • TheJian - Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - link

    If the price sucks it will be left on shelves until they lower it. But since it IS NOT a gaming card (though it's still the fastest out there probably for this task), they will fly off the shelves vs. M6000's that run $4000-5000. PROSUMER, is who this is aimed out. They are wisely expanding their market to poorer people who'd like to get into content creation (games vids etc) but can't afford it at $5k. You don't seem to understand the article. It point blank says it's a prosumer card, heck they even removed the GTX from it...LOL. Nobody can rip you off, they do not force you to buy anything. If the price is too high, the market will let them know and price will come down. It's that simple.

    Get a better job. I could easily afford this and I'm not rich by any standard. It's a tough pill as a pure gamer, but as I move on to other things (pro stuff) it's a massive discount to quadro. If these cards didn't exist an indie dev etc would be forced to pay $5000 even if they had no need for support, ECC etc. No thanks. Thank you Nvidia, please ignore the ignorant and keep releasing prosumer cards! It sounds like the card for you will come a few months from now for $700 or so.

    BTW, what they are doing is cherry picking chips for the 1080ti right now for it's launch. Again, you don't seem to understand how this stuff works. 1080ti will likely be a salvaged or cherry picked titan die with higher clocks and maybe a bad part disabled. The higher clocks will make it faster in either case, and save dies. It's quite possible yields will be good enough to not disable anything other then deep learning crap and keep the gaming side fully enabled while jacking up clocks. I guess their strategy depends on Vega's perf.

    "NVIDIA this morning has stated that the primary market is FP32 and INT8 compute, not gaming."

    Did you miss that part? So content creation and int8 work. But sure it will game too, but why would you buy it? Wait a few months if you're a gamer only. AMD will have to release more than a single card, as NV has multiple market segments here. PRO, Prosumer, & gamer. Everyone gets the best of the best this way for their tasks. Price would go up if they tried to do it all in ONE solution. You also seem unaware of the fact that NV has taken nearly a decade to get back to 2007 profits. They aren't ripping anyone off. If you take out Intel's payment they still would be struggling to match 2007...LOL. Jeez, read some quarterly reports and balance sheets.
  • Drumsticks - Friday, July 22, 2016 - link

    I'm feeling a mixed combination of 1) Holy cow, Nvidia is killing it with their Pascal timeline, 2) Is anybody else wondering how much fun it's going to be to try and buy the 5 of these they can make every week (jkjk), and 3) These prices.

    I know the best performance comes at a premium, but we could really use an AMD spoiler right about now. With the amount of development time it's going to get, Vega 10 needs to be notably better than GP104, and Vega 11 better be able to compete with the Titan X and get ready for a fully enabled GP102 (presumably with HBM?). Nvidia is absolutely phenomenal at making quality GPUs, but it's also highlighting how badly we need flagship level competition.
  • Impulses - Friday, July 22, 2016 - link

    Agreed, NV's timing is probably putting a ton of pressure on AMD's timeline. I'd like to upgrade my 2x R9 290 already but until I see AMD's hand and a 1080 Ti I'm not sure I wanna bother.
  • Mondozai - Friday, July 22, 2016 - link

    Full fat Pascal this is not(still GP104). My guess is that they will release the full fat Pascal GPU when AMD releases Vega.
  • Mondozai - Friday, July 22, 2016 - link

    Oops misread the GP102 part. Still, why is TFLOPS so low? Isn't the compute full fat Pascal close to 16-18 TFLOPS? I'd expect the consumer version to be lower, maybe 14-15, but not 11.
  • Dobson123 - Friday, July 22, 2016 - link

    GP100 officially has only 10.6 TFLOPs SP performance as well. Which is pretty logical considering it has the same number of ALUs and a similar frequency.
  • MrSpadge - Friday, July 22, 2016 - link

    The number you're remembering is at half precision (16 bit).
  • DanNeely - Friday, July 22, 2016 - link

    It's the lower clockrate. 40% more cores, but only 88% of the clock rate results in only 24% faster overall. I wish nVidia would've bumped the TDP a bit on this one to get the clocks up; the gap between it and the 1080 is narrow enough there's not much room to fit a 1080 Ti in if they wanted to.

    OTOH at least there's not much reason to wait for one either. I'll be getting a 1080 whenever the price/availability stops being crazy.
  • Drumsticks - Friday, July 22, 2016 - link

    Eh, it's smart. They get three things. It's still faster, anyways. They get to say "look! Our fastest GPU ever still only consumes 250W!" And then they get an even better reputation when it turns out this thing can be clocked higher for how great of an overclocker it is.

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